What we know about the Huawei P40, including its price… but it’s all a bit complicated

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Speaking to Huawei CTO Akhram Mohamed today, we’ve learnt some interesting information about Huawei’s P40 range of phones. Some good news, some interesting facts and some nuggets of info that, given the current state of the country, are slightly concerning for both Huawei and consumers.

Huawei’s new P40 smartphones were officially announced yesterday afternoon in a livestream that was far quieter than usual, but not unusually so given the current situation around the world. Richard Yu took great pride in showing off the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ to the world, with a deep dive into cameras, hardware and software improvements over previous iterations. We were¬†fortunate enough to get our hands on the P40 Pro ahead of the phone’s official global launch on 7 April and we’ve been fairly impressed by the experience thus far.

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Still, we had a few questions and concerns about the phone that Huawei CTO Akhram Mohamed was more than happy to help us figure out. One of the most worrying things about the P40 Pro was the inclusion of ads in the phone’s native software. Upon opening the Huawei Music app for the first time, we were greeted by an advert for some sort of slot machine game, which is certainly not the standard you want set for proprietary apps.

Mohamed clarified that this wouldn’t be the case with the South African release, confirming that the inclusion of ads on the software was probably due to the fact that the model we’d received had originated overseas. “The South African branch of Huawei has control over this sort of in-app advertising, so I can confirm that the commercial release of the P40 in the country will not include any ads in the native software,” he said. Good to know.

Moreover, the included versions of Huawei Music and Video aren’t just apps to play the clips and tunes you’ve already saved to your phone. They’ll eventually evolve into a subscription service like Spotify. While no pricing has been confirmed, as the functionality is still being developed, Huawei is promising to bring a flurry of local and international media to its users for a price that’s “equal to or less” than existing services. Partnering with big publishers like Sony, building a streaming service for music and movies that’s completely opt-in for users is how Huawei hopes to emphasise its ecosystem. Considering these services will be compatible with the upcoming Sound X, Huawei’s wireless speaker system unveiled yesterday, that may not be a bad thing.

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When it comes to when we’ll actually be able to use these products…well, that’s the bad news. “Usually we like to hold a big launch event at the same time or just after the global launch, but given the lockdown of the country, that’s just not possible right now.” While the P40 series is arriving around the world on April 7th, South Africa will be getting it later. “We’re going to play it by ear, but for the moment we’re looking at around mid May for a South African launch, but that may change as the situation develops,” said Mohamed.

The same thing applies to pricing as Mohamed was only able to provide estimates. “Everything is so up in the air with the Rand right now that nothing has been finalised.” Having said that, South Africans are likely to be paying roughly R16 999 for the P40 and R20 999 for the P40 Pro. No pricing is available on the P40 Pro+, given that it will only be launching globally in July.

Huawei is also looking at bringing in as many peripherals for the P40 smartphones as possible, including the impressive-looking Sound X but, again, given the lockdown Mohamed was unsure about when we can expect these to hit shelves or how much they’ll cost.

Now is not exactly the best time to launch a flapship range of smartphones but there’s not really much that can be done, we think. Fortunately for you we’ve now got plenty of time to mess around with the P40 Pro so you can expect to see the review up on the site next week.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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